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panAFRICA Project Part Two

panAFRICA Project Part Two

By Lou Jones   

ARTIST STATEMENT For the past few years I have been photographing the continent of Africa country by country. We are using the “universal language” of photography to illustrate contemporary Africa. Western media has for hundreds of years intentionally only told the story of poverty, pestilence & conict with negative images of children with ies on… Read more »

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note

By Lorena Hernández Leonard   

Estimados Solstice Readers, At the time of this writing I am recovering from COVID. In a household of four, three of us tested positive, suffering through the virus’s effects physically and emotionally. Ironically, just days before, on a lovely summer afternoon, my husband and I had been discussing with a friend how it felt that… Read more »

the Banjo Player explains

the Banjo Player explains

By Matthew E. Henry (MEH)   

no. he weren’t no kin of mine. not my pa or grandpa. no grey-headed uncle neither. just some drifter mister Henry paid to be painted, same as me. but he was told to really teach me how to pluck and strum—told it made it “more authentic.” so I set there listenin’ to one mumble ‘bout… Read more »

Every day I wake up & get dressed for my own funeral

By Quintin Collins   

after Enzo Silon Surin Some mother said to always wear a clean pair of underwear in case of emergencies in which EMTs need cut off your pants, and some other mother said dress like every outfit is your last as if the funeral walks in lockstep. I iron wrinkles from my jeans, shirts, and chinos.… Read more »

Your Sister, Wyeth, Shoes

By Liz Abrams-Morley   

This morning you’re thinking about shoes, of a painting your sister is trying to complete, socked feet of all those young men, her son’s friends come to make a shiva call, to visit a mother in shock, grieving, boys removing sneakers so as to not soil her carpet. Fifteen years later, she paints what she… Read more »

Every Time I Sharpen the Knives

By Rachel M. Dillon   

or clatter them into the sink, I think of John Muir, suddenly blind by an awl snapped upward, piercing his eye. What remained? A hunger for holiness, like when I realize everything outside was made by someone’s hands—even the rats, boundless and loud, fat on trash. All of it, I fold into the suitcase of… Read more »

something about Miles

By Bonita Lee Penn   

-after So What, by Miles Davis complex kind of blue man in a silent way     kind of complicated man who birth coolness miles ahead his sounds    this kind of mellowness his groove flawed and loved and feared even though his nothing or all stance towards women the drugs and all that    within a world of… Read more »

My Plot of Dirt

By Robert Carr   

after Octavio Paz Spring snows pink lips and you, beloved plot of dirt, take me to your lily-of-the-valley bed, rest my head on rising falls of flesh-drift and mudslide. I reach for your fumbling finger, you fill my gut with pebbles, roots. Lift me from your lowland, count half-children oozing from this body in the… Read more »

Storage Body Triptych

By Sara Dudo   

I To erect a greenhouse on a perennial farm: 1, 2, 3 group push of metal arches up to heirloom sun dipping underneath each metal line along the other side     rays peppering the eye we mourn spring eternal cycle: fingertips sweat along hot metal each ladder step             a tinny hymn, echoing edict of screw… Read more »

[I was told there’s a fairy tale where all the daughters]

By Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick   

I was told there’s a fairy tale where all the daughters heal their own wounds by completing their assignment before midnight. Every Wednesday, the daughters set fire to the village & everyone agrees the daughters should burn as the summer & just as welcome. Look! The warmth the daughters bring, an offering. I was told… Read more »

To the Men on the Porch

By Mary Ann Honaker   

She’s in her own little world, says one man to the other, as I walk by their front porch where they sit and drink beer with the front door wide open. Actually, I’m harvesting encounters: tiger lilies planted by a driveway, a bursting snowball bush, the curious way one tree’s branch turned ninety degrees to… Read more »

At St. Michael’s feet

By Martha McCollough   

in the dark museum taking the form of a little dragon burnt black, square-headed, crouching doggish at the angel’s feet the devil is so ugly-cute you want to take him home give him a cushion a little plaid blanket don’t you always make that mistake— what looked harmless enters the house begins to swell and… Read more »

Dos Generaciones / Two Generations

By Samuel "Sami" Miranda   

The jibaro builds his home on a mountainside the flamboyan adds its red to the view. The spaces between the slats allow the music of the pitirre’s call to enter the home and adds to the quiquiriqui of the rooster that struts his ownership of morning. The jibaro walks the mountain sees that it is


By Valerie Smith   

the sunflower aches her long neck under duress of a blue roof’s eave her seed draws evening’s edge thin lines of black and white pinstripe yearn for unity. wine poured out burns closer to the stem’s sacrifice. roots, unmentionable. deep seeking. whole as the hovered sea carried in. currents pull color in bright directions. cool… Read more »

Poetry In Translation Editors’ Note

Poetry In Translation Editors’ Note

By Barbara Siegel Carlson and Ewa Chrusciel   

We are both darkness and light. Is the inside dark and the outside light, or the reverse? Ying and yang, night and day. Body and soul. We need one to know the other. Poet and translator Red Pine writes in dancing with the dead, “Language is at the surface of the much deeper flux that is… Read more »

Four Poems by René Char translated from the French by Eliot Cardinaux

Four Poems by René Char translated from the French by Eliot Cardinaux

By René Char and Eliot Cardinaux   

THE PRODIGAL’S TORCH   The quarantined enclosure burned You cloud move ahead Cloud of resistance Cloud of caverns Towing hypnosis.     ONGOING TRUTH   The crevice’s inventor Tugs tumult’s rope We gauge the depth Along the riled contours of the thigh The quiet blood that releases Confuses the needles Raises love without reading it.… Read more »

Three poems by Miłosz Biedrzycki translated from the Polish by Jennifer Croft

Three poems by Miłosz Biedrzycki translated from the Polish by Jennifer Croft

By Miłosz Biedrzycki and Jennifer Croft   

from: MLB, Sofostrofa i inne wiersze, Kraków 2007 MLB, Porumb, Poznań 2013     9 beers for ox-calling The castors on the chair bellow like a wounded bull, weevil. Except the hearing is more sensitive this Tuesday morning excessive as a peeking squirrel. I remember Erzsébet Bridge, women were shaving their pits there back at… Read more »

Two Poems by Rainer Maria Rilke, Departures from the German by Steven Cramer

Two Poems by Rainer Maria Rilke, Departures from the German by Steven Cramer

By Rainer Maria Rilke and Steven Cramer   

These “departures” repurpose originals from Rilke’s New Poems (1907/08) both stylistically and thematically, compressing each stanza by a line’s-worth and using, wherever possible, active verbs instead of the adjectives and adverbs so profuse in Englished Rilke.     Encounter The avenue’s green shadows clung to him like a dark coat he kept needing to adjust; while off… Read more »

Two Poems by Dimitra Kotoula, Translated from the Greek by Maria Nazos

Two Poems by Dimitra Kotoula, Translated from the Greek by Maria Nazos

By Dimitra Kotoula and Maria Nazos   

Case Study I   The light falls lower now— Shadows on the steep mountains The atmosphere calm as meek milk and the griping city flock trudges through nothing.  Between reality and hope where the empty moment was revealed the mind spreads its images. Dividing      distinguishing      varying it struggles to see with its sugary muscles open… Read more »

Nonfiction Editor’s Note

Nonfiction Editor’s Note

By Richard Hoffman   

First, I want to thank Grace Talusan, who judged our Michael Steinberg Nonfiction Prize. Talusan is the author of The Body Papers, which won the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing and went on to win the Massachusetts Book Award for Nonfiction. The Body Papers was a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection. Of… Read more »

How Much Time Do You Want For Your Progress?

By Allen M. Price   

How long have I in bondage lain, And languished to be free! Alas! and must I still complain– Deprived of liberty. On Liberty and Slavery George Moses Horton thisismyschoolitisbeigethereismrshickey sheisnicesheismyteachersheissmilingilike hersmilesmilemrshickeysmilesheisplaying withherpapershereismyfirstgrade classroomthekidsareplayingwearehappy thereismeiambymyselfiamcoloringiseea kidbuildingwithblocksiwanttoplaycome andplayhelaughscaniplaywithyouhewill notplaywithmelaughingandplayingicryhe playsalltheotherkidsstareatmemrshickey walksoversheisfrowninghewillnotplaywith mewhynothisparentswillnotallowhimto playwithniggersirunhomeafterschool runningandrunningtomymomitakeoffthe keytiedroundmyneckandopenthedoor momisatworkmydogladyjumpsonmewoof woofshebarkssheisspringerspanielsheis brownandblackandwhitelikemewewillplay chaseiwillrunshewillchaseirunandirun runningandrunningiamstillrunningaway this is my school it is beige… Read more »

Double Incision Diary

By Jendi Reiter   

  On the afternoon I come home from surgery, I converse with a giant snake. * On an evening six years before surgery, I am teaching a poorly-attended church group about Jungian theology. The wounded healer. Chiron the centaur. How to lie in the cave of Asklepius, on the couch from which clinic gets its… Read more »

Can Abacuses Count That High?

By Amber Wong   

  The sharp staccato of Cantonese swirled around Ming’s Restaurant as twelve of us sat, shoulders almost touching, at a round banquet table. Steam billowed from the swinging kitchen doors, wafting a seductive scent of steamed buns and ginger. For a moment I was a child again, going to yum cha with my parents after… Read more »

A Minute of Silence

By Adriana Páramo   

  I’m lying on my back, scrawny feet up in the stirrups. In my head, I go like, don’t look, don’t look, don’t you look at her, but of course, I do. I raise my head, and there next to the gynecologist is Mom, peering into my most private me. Mom cranes her neck over… Read more »


By Beverly Burch   

Typewritten pages buried in an obscure book. Yellowing, unlined, composed by my mother with penciled corrections in her hand, they told family history in fits and starts, gleaned from my grandmother’s memory. On a wintry day, they fell out of the book so I sat on the floor to read them because my mother’s voice… Read more »

Why is it so hard to take up space?

By Thuy Phan   

I.   Because you are only 5 feet 1.5 inches tall, and your limbs only stretch so far. You often speed-walk to keep pace with anyone over 6 feet.   Because your family tells you that you didn’t drink enough milk while you were growing up.   Because you hate the taste of it. As… Read more »

The Virility of Memory

By Anne C. Wheeler   

Mike Hippler wanted to be remembered. That’s what he told me, through the pages of his journal, approximately 31 years after he died from AIDS on April 4, 1991. When I arrived at the GLBT Historical Society, in the basement of a beautiful building on a seedy street in San Francisco, I knew that I… Read more »

Poetry Editor’s Note

Poetry Editor’s Note

By Robbie Gamble   

It’s a joy to present the selections for the 2023 Stephen Dunn Prize for poetry. The winning poem is “the Banjo Player Explains,” by Matthew E. Henry, selected by our poetry judge for this issue, A. Van Jordan. He writes: In one of the most assured ekphrastic poems I’ve read in some time, ‘the Banjo… Read more »

Note from Fiction Co-Editors

Note from Fiction Co-Editors

By Lee Hope and Ruth Mukwana   

Dear SOLSTICE community, First of all, heartfelt thanks to Anjali Mitter Duva, distinguished novelist, who for the past two years served as our fiction co-editor.  Anjali brought the combination of creativity, dedication and organizational expertise, which she is taking with her since she has co-founded an ambitious, author-oriented publishing venture Galiot Press. We will sincerely… Read more »

Solomon and The Shed
excerpt from novel-in-progress: Sweet Thing

By Wandeka Gayle   

I should have known when the neighbor’s rooster came in our yard one morning and crowed long and loud that nothing was set to go well that day, a sign of trouble like the old heads liked to say. I had folded and unfolded my father’s letter looking at the few words he had scrawled


By Nicholas Cormier III   

On eggshells. Bunkie scrutinizes every move I make. You left water in the sink. I get up and wipe it dry. There’s a bead of piss on the back rim of the toilet. I get up and wipe it dry. Try to get ahead of him. Start sweeping the cell. Learn a few things. Like… Read more »

Where the Beaver be Damned

By Christine Neu   

On a Tuesday evening in late July, Miriam and her lover Ted watched a storm roll in over the lake. They met at her dock every evening after Ted returned from visiting hours at the memory care unit. There, like a loyal goose, he had shared dinner with his wife, who spoke to him in… Read more »


By Jan Schmidt   

“Don’t be messin with my hustle, now,” Sandra says, her voice rough as a gravel path. We’re drilling our way down Broadway and Sandra adds, “I’m gonna push these motherfuckers into the street if they don’t get outta my way.” Nearby, a woman, long blond hair, young, wearing leggings, swoops in front of us, pushing… Read more »

Unexploded Ordnances

By Chandreyee Lahiri   

It started innocently enough—letter here, a word there—and he reasoned that Mrs. Pookutty needed the help, her English-in-retirement simply having acquired some rust since her School-Principal heyday. She probably meant to use the right word all along, the one Prabhakar had just typed. “The unexploded ordnance just lay thier, partially buried in the sand –… Read more »

A Decent Dog

By Anne Falkowski   

She used to be a nurse. At our old house, I watched her get ready each morning. She began with pulling up white pantyhose. She never wore underwear which made me think I shouldn’t either. “You have to!” she said. “You don’t have a choice.” At our new house, Mom wears underwear. Her nursing uniforms… Read more »

This Earth, That Sky

This Earth, That Sky

By Alan Davis   

The two Travelers, both women, one older, one young, together in a pickup with a camper shell where they sometimes slept. They drove the rural and snow-spackled Dakotas towards the horizon on a wintry afternoon across flat farmland blanketed in snow under the threat of more weather. “Nana, those are mountains.” “Serena, those are clouds.”… Read more »

The Poet and the Fisherman

The Poet and the Fisherman

By Ricki Morell   

She came to the island with her two slim volumes of poems and the outfit she always wore to readings. The sweater jacket that her first husband, the artist, had given her. The slightly flared jeans from that store in Soho. And the patent leather flats that turned out to be completely wrong for walking… Read more »

Interview with Helen Elaine Lee

By Helen Elaine Lee and Lee Hope   

Pomegranate by the acclaimed author Helen Elaine Lee is one of the most significant novels of the last decade. It has received glowing reviews, and it was recently chosen by Amazon’s editors as one of the Best Books of the Year So Far, at #6. How challenging it is to write with compassion on each page,… Read more »

Graphic Lit Editor’s Note

Graphic Lit Editor’s Note

By Andrai Whitted and Jess Ruliffson   

We are proud to offer our readers this amazing selection of submissions from our 3rd year of Graphic Lit (Comic Narrative) work. We are also extremely lucky to have had, Eisner-nominated cartoonist, Jess Ruliffson as a guest judge. Jess’ work includes her debut graphic novel, Invisible Wounds, nominated for an Online Journalism Award in 2023.… Read more »

Note from the Editor-in-Chief

By Lorena Hernández Leonard   

Back in the fall when I was interviewing with Solstice’s Founding Editor Lee Hope and Founding Board Member Bill Betcher for the EIC role, it was evident how committed they were to the magazine’s mission of amplifying diverse voices. This point is worth highlighting. In my 20-year communications career, where I worked with small and… Read more »

Where Do I Go?

By Rania Matar   

Artist’s Note: Where Do I Go? As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Lebanese Civil War, Lebanon still suffers its consequences. After years of brutal Civil War, corrupt governments, months of Covid-19 lockdown; the 2020 Port of Beirut explosions further plunged Lebanon into the abyss and total economic meltdown, with shortages of cash, gas,… Read more »

Nonfiction Editor’s Note

By Richard Hoffman   

I wonder if anyone else has noticed the frequency with which the words transaction, transactive, transactional are becoming part of our current lexicon. I encounter them more and more frequently, not only in print but in conversation. I hope this means that we are catching on to the fact that slowly but surely we have all… Read more »

Guest Poetry Editor’s Note

By Enzo Silon Surin   

There is something to be said about transmitting information from one body to another, whether it be flesh, dust or ocean or the space between us, which, in itself, is time measured in distance. There is an infinite beauty in the way we change forms, at times seemingly intentional, and how we seamlessly move from… Read more »